Live la dolce vita with a stay at Rocco Forte House in Rome, a boutique bolthole in an 18th-century palazzo. There are just a handful of rooms, each designed to feel like your private Roman pad, with a kitchen, living area and dining room, and two bedrooms. The penthouse is the place for you if you want to watch the Spanish Steps from the comfort of your own terrace. Click your fingers and a chef can be summoned to cook in your kitchen, or make a trip down in the vintage lift and head to stylish sister property Hotel de la Ville, which has a chic assortment of Roman-frequented restaurants, bars and spas to keep you busy.
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm, also flexible.
Double rooms from £728.64 (€823), including tax at 10 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of €3.50 per person per night on check-out.
Rates don’t usually include breakfast.
The first floor of the building also houses Tiffany & Co’s office (it’s above the shop). The chances of finding any stray diamonds, though? Let’s go with zero.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout, private chef on request. In rooms: Bose Bluetooth speakers, air-conditioning, Nespresso coffee machine, tea-making kit, kitchen, free bottled water and Irene Forte bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Choose between a view of the Piazza di Spagna (Piranesi) or Via del Babuino (Bernini), but the Bernini Private Suites are a little bigger. If the budget allows, blow it on the Piazza di Spagna Penthouse for a majestic view of the world’s most famous set of steps from the terrace.
There’s no spa or gym on-site, but guests are welcome to head down the road to sister property Hotel de Russie (on the same street) or up to Hotel de la Ville on Via Sistina to use either of theirs.
All the designer threads you can fit in your suitcase – or just head across to Via dei Condotti to stock up on some new ones.
Due to the 18th-century design, the hotel is not easily accessible for wheelchair users.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and cots can be added, and each suite has two bedrooms. Babysitting is available with a day’s notice, from €25 an hour.
There are no communal areas at the hotel, but there are plenty of spots to get cosy at in your suite, each of which have dining and living rooms.
You’ll be in the comfort of your own suite: dressing gowns allowed.
There’s no restaurant at the hotel, but each suite has a kitchen which a Michelin-starred chef will gladly come and commandeer – plus, with a setting this central, there’s almost certainly a taverna or osteria out there for you. Breakfast baskets of croissants, bread, marmalade and honey can be dropped off each morning.
Rocco Forte House is in the centre of Rome, just off Via del Babuino and close to the Spanish Steps.
The city’s main international hub, Fiumicino, is 33 kilometres away; the drive should take around 45 minutes. It’s a similar distance to Ciampino Airport. Hotel transfers to and from either option start from €100 each way.
Rome’s main rail station, Termini, is a 15-minute drive from the house. From here, Trenitalia trains link up other Italian cities, including Florence, Milan, Naples and Venice. Hotel transfers to this station start from €80 each way.
Driving in Rome is not something you’re going to want to sign up for in a hurry: leave it to the pros and rely on taxis and the metro. The car park is a kilometre away in any case, so the hotel recommends guests park there and hop in a cab.
Worth getting out of bed for
You’re in the heart of Rome, so get those coins ready for the Trevi Fountain and the gladiator sandals out for the Colosseum and the Forum. Just don’t sit down on the Spanish Steps, since that’s now officially illegal (and comes with a €250 fine). At the hotel, pretend you’re a Roman and cook in your kitchen – or have a chef come do it for you.
Don’t miss a tour of the Villa Borghese, a sprawling park at the top of the Spanish Steps. Within the gardens, the Galleria Borghese houses masterpieces by Bernini, Titian and Caravaggio. Cross the river to Trastevere to get a taste of a more local kind of Roman life; while you’re there, pop along to the Sapienza Università di Roma-owned Orto Botanico (botanical gardens).
The Vatican opens in the evenings on Fridays during the summer (April to October); if it was possible, the Sistine Chapel is even more impressive after dark.
Dillà, on Via Mario de’ Fiori, is where to head if you’re intrigued by the notion of Roman meals getting a little Anglo twist, thanks to the half-British, Italian-born chef. Feast on carpaccio and crudo, work your way through the pasta selection, or order from the long list of freshly caught fish, priced by weight and cooked according to your preference at Pierluigi. Mosaico, at the house’s sister property Hotel de la Ville, is primed for brunches with a Roman crowd; don’t miss the straight-out-of-the-forno focaccia. For super seafood dishes such as cuttlefish gnocchi, octopus ravioli and roasted turbot, try Per Me on Vicolo del Malpasso.
Head up to the Cielo rooftop bar at Hotel de la Ville for sundowners served up with endless Eternal City views. Or join the illuminous roster of former patrons (Picasso and pals) at the tiered Le Jardin bar down the road at the hallowed Hotel de Russie.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique hotel in Italy and unpacked their cacio e pepe, a full account of their Roman holiday will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Rocco Forte House…
Who hasn’t dreamed of moving to Rome? If you regularly fantasise about becoming an Eternal City dweller, Rocco Forte House is a good place to start. If the name’s familiar (it should be), you’ll be well versed in the fine hotel stock this family-owned group deals in, whether it’s hallowed Hotel de Russie down the road on Via del Babuino, or new-to-the-fold Hotel de la Ville up on Via Sistina. Guests of the house are welcome to use the spa and gyms of either property, and can book in at any of their local-favoured restaurants and bars. The house itself is Roman real estate heaven, with palatially proportioned suites that have patterned wallpaper, velvet chairs, opulent mirrors and elaborate chandeliers, along with a prime postcode. Roman Holiday fans, take note: Gregory Peck’s apartment in the classic comedy was on Via Margutta, a block behind the house. All you need is a Vespa and a colours-of-the-Italian-flag helmet and you’re officially Roman. Prego.